Monday, May 07, 2007


It's not unusual to ask for time off work for your usual run-of-the-mill reasons including for example, illness, marriage, a death in the family. The usual stuff.

For some people, "I can't come in to work today because my tarantula is a little grey-ish" or "my parrot caught a chill" is a valid reason for staying home. At least it is in ('nuff said or written) Britain where it's an accepted 'norm' with employees allowed time away from their place of employment to care for their pets.

Staid British companies including Royal Mail, Halifax Band and the Bank of Scotland are among companies giving "peternity leave." You read it right: pet-ernity leave. The Halifax Bank and the Bank of Scotland allow time away from work as long as they get someone to cover their jobs. The insurance company, Penplan discovered that 35% of its clients admitted that they have taken time off to look after pets or to accustomize new pets to their new environment. The Courier Service, a company located near London, has had a peternity leave program since last summer that allows for two days paid annual leave for pet reasons.

However, Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at the Lancaster University management school, advised against seeking time off to care for pets.
“When jobs are insecure, telling a boss that you want time off work to look after a pet would not go down well.”

The concept does have merit since pets become part of a pet-owner's life and tend to be thought of as a member of the family, however, there is cause for concern as is the case with everything in life, for abuse. For example at the onset of the baseball/football/soccer season sports fans tend to acquire a variety of illnesses that last one day. On the other hand it does open up a whole new area of valid excuses. Calling in with a rasping voice and telling a boss, "I caught laryngitis from my cat" just might work.

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